June 11, 2012
A human firewall? Tips to keep information secure
As we've discussed on Portals and Rails in the past, PIN cardholder verification offered by ATM and debit cards has proven superior in preventing fraudulent transactions compared to signature cardholder verification. And while a PIN is a solid fraud deterrent, it is by no means 100 percent effective in reducing fraud. As we are in the midst of ATM and Debit Card Safety Awareness Month, it is important for consumers to understand their responsibility in the fight against cardholder fraud.
Financial institutions and the ATM and debit card networks have robust fraud detection and prevention systems and measures in place. However, cardholders need to view themselves as "human firewalls" of sensitive data, including ATM and debit card information and PINs. While fraudsters have become highly sophisticated at obtaining this data, weak PIN selection and security by cardholders makes it easier for fraudsters to commit their crimes.
In today's prolific social media world, weak PINs do not just include simple numbers such as "1111" and "1234." With more information than ever about us online, a birth date, address number, or even an anniversary date could prove to be an easily guessed PIN. According to a study by a Cambridge University Computer Laboratory team, one out of every 11 wallets could contain cards with easily discovered PINs. And ATM and debit card fraud can be more costly to cardholders than credit card fraud. Fraudulent ATM and debit card transactions verified by a PIN generally carry a higher consumer liability limit than do credit card or signature debit transactions. This is especially true if a consumer fails to report a card or PIN as lost or stolen or identify a fraudulent transaction in a timely manner.
In the spirit of ATM and debit card safety awareness, we encourage all cardholders to strengthen any weak PINs as well as follow these and other suggested tips from the PULSE ATM/debit network:
- Monitor your financial account statements.
Many experts recommend reviewing accounts online daily so that any suspicious activity is spotted quickly. Switch from postal delivery of statements to online access or ensure that mailed statements are sent to locked boxes and not left available to fraudsters.
- Protect your wallet, purse and PIN.
Carry only what you need and avoid carrying items with private information such as your Social Security number. Don't share your PIN with anyone. That means don't write it down and don't give it to a clerk or anyone else to enter for you.
- Be extra alert at ATMs.
Don't use an ATM if it is in an unlit or hidden area. Block the keypad while entering your PIN so you can't be observed. If an ATM looks phony or has a suspicious card reader that is loose or not part of the main body of the machine, do not use it.
- Protect your online shopping.
Update computer anti-virus software, anti-spyware, and firewalls. New attacks come frequently, and your software provider will frequently send updates to stop them. Use only secure sites and network connections when shopping online.
- Protect personal information online.
Limit social media access to friends only and don't "friend" people you don't know. Fraudsters use personal information such as birth dates, family and pet names, high schools, and birth cities to "verify" your identity.
By Douglas A. King, payments risk expert in the Retail Payments Risk Forum at the Atlanta Fed
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference A human firewall? Tips to keep information secure:
- As with Nuclear Disarmament, So with ACH: Trust, but Verify
- The Personal Cost of Fraud
- When Fraud Hits Home: Questioning Today’s Authentication Methods
- FFIEC Weighs In On Mobile Channel Risks
- Cash: Reports of Its Pending Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- The 411 on Banning the RCC
- Surviving the Emerging Payments Providers
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place?
- There's an App for That!
- What Is GPR Feeding On? Part 2 of 2
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- account takeovers
- ATM fraud
- bank supervision
- banks and banking
- card networks
- check fraud
- consumer fraud
- consumer protection
- cross-border wires
- data security
- debit cards
- emerging payments
- financial services
- identity theft
- law enforcement
- mobile banking
- mobile money transfer
- mobile network operator (MNO)
- mobile payments
- money laundering
- money services business (MSB)
- online banking fraud
- payments risk
- payments study
- payments systems
- phone fraud
- remotely created checks
- risk management
- Section 1073
- social networks
- third-party service provider
- trusted service manager
- Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP)
- wire transfer fraud
- workplace fraud